What You Can Do
National Audubon
Blog Archive
Main | West Rutland Marsh - November 2018 »
Monday
Dec032018

Christmas Bird Count

What better way to celebrate the end of 2018 and the beginning of 2019 than by participating in the Christmas Bird Count (CBC)? This year marks the 119th annual count for National Audubon and the 45th for Rutland County. The Rutland count will be held on Saturday, December 29.

What is the Christmas Bird Count? Many years ago, it was the custom to go out during the Christmas season and shoot birds for sport. In 1900, as people began to realize that bird populations were in decline (and some species going extinct), ornithologist Frank Chapman decided it would be better to COUNT birds instead of shooting them. The idea began to spread and today there are over 2,500 counts throughout the U.S., Canada, Latin America, the Caribbean, and Pacific Islands.

The Rutland Christmas Count area is a circle centered at the falls in Center Rutland and encompasses a 15-mile diameter around that. That includes all of Rutland City, Rutland Town, portions of Proctor, West Rutland, Ira, Pittsford and Clarendon. Participants go out to cover assigned portions of the circle, counting as many birds as possible, as well as noting weather conditions and mileage covered. Others count from home.

The Christmas Bird Count is fun! And it’s a great way to get out in the fresh air and enjoy nature after the excesses of the holidays. You join other bird enthusiasts to take on the challenge of identifying and counting as many species and individual birds as possible. If you don’t feel your skills are up to par, don’t worry, we’ll pair you with a team. It can be an opportunity to meet new friends and learn more about birds and citizen science, the real point of the CBC.  

Citizen science, the idea that non-professional people can contribute to a body of data, important to furthering scientific study, is what the Christmas Bird Count is all about. With over a century of data, the CBC is one of the oldest citizen science projects. Data has been used by researchers, conservation biologists, wildlife agencies and other interested individuals to study the long-term health and status of bird populations across North America.

So now you know why you should participate here is how:

Join a field team! We have eight teams, seven that cover a portion of the circle and travel by car, getting out at promising spots. One team walks along Otter Creek and is definitely for the hardier among us. Contact Kathleen Guinness at birding@rutlandcountyaudubon.org to join the count.

Not a fan of going out in the cold weather? Feeder watchers within the count circle are also needed. If you aren’t sure if you live within the circle, contact us at birding@rutlandcountyaudubon.org and we can help you figure it out.

The day ends at the Proctor Library with a potluck supper and a countdown of the species seen. Attendance at the supper isn’t mandatory (we know this is a busy time of year), but it’s a lot of fun and the food is always abundant and good. The supper starts at 6 p.m. with beverages and utensils to share. Just bring your favorite dish to share!

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend